An Island of Love

On Friday I was late to a wedding. By the time I had pulled into the parking lot it was 6:23, and the wedding started at 6:00. Music flowed from within the chapel as light streamed through the windows. The walkway was lined with neatly arranged candles, that lead to the entrance all the others had found their way through. As I reached the door I noticed that the lobby was empty. No one was there anymore to give me a handmade program, or to show me what door of the chapel to enter. Muffled voices sang boldly to my right, so I made my way over, entered the far door, and slipped into an empty row in the back.

I had missed the procession. I had missed the cue to stand, turn and watch the bride be led by her father down the aisle. Alone in the back I had missed the longing in the eyes of the groom as he waited, and the rapturous joy in the eyes of the bride as she made her way to him. They were already holding hands in the front and smiling at each other as if the beauty of that moment increased with every second. Candles waned at the end of each aisle and though the hands of the clock moved they froze briefly, for the couple, on their trip around.

From the back of the chapel I sat and watched like I have a dozen times before: The music ended; the people sat; the couple moved to the center; the pastor spoke about the couple; a passage was read; and the vows were exchanged. Then a question was asked that I have always wondered about, “What token do you give to symbolize your love?” It was strange, but my mind froze for a moment with this question. Every body knew the answer, “A ring,” but I kept hoping that maybe the answer would be different, or that something would be added to the answer, “A Ring and a _____ .”  That maybe in that moment the bride would reveal something unique of her devotion to the groom, and the groom would unveil sometime distinct in his devotion to the bride.

Tradition is an amazing thing, but so is creativity. To follow the ways of our fathers is a beautiful picture of remembrance, but to create our own traditions is a awe inspiring picture of love. Love is an island of its own. When we love a person it effects the way we create, live, think, breathe, and give toward that person. Love is its own tradition. Love itself creates memories and stories to be shared. And so while ‘a ring’ is a beautiful tradition of our fathers, and a inspiring picture of love, my thought in that moment shifted toward the giving of a unique symbol of love defined by that ‘island of love’ itself.

Here’s what I pictured: Two veiled canvases being revealed. One painted for the bride and one painted for the groom. Each composed of strokes defined by a deep unbreakable love. Each unique to how, through that love, the couple saw each other.  In that moment, I saw, two stories being created; two stories being given that one new legacy might be birthed. I saw a beautiful island of love.

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About Jeremiah Dowling

I write poetry and take crazy pictures in an Orange Chair all over the United States while reading amazing books.

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